The food trucks of Dallas-Fort Worth have been embraced by the Metroplex communities since they started rolling out earlier this year. Now that they are settled in, they have reversed roles in some respects and begun to not only embrace but support and help improve the communities in which they operate.
Recently, seven trucks participated in a Food Truck SmackDown to raise funds for a local charity, Ten for 10, which builds water wells and teaches African communities the importance of clean water. The SmackDown was the idea of Ten of 10 President, Sheryl Coyne-Batson, who invited the food trucks to participate as a way to draw interest to the event and also introduce the concept of food trucks to those who had never visited a truck. The interest was certainly drawn, with just short of 500 people purchasing tickets to sample the foods of Gandolfo’s New York Deli Dallas, So-Cal Tacos, Gennarino’s, Enticed, Jackalope Mobile Kitchen, Nammi Truck and 3 Men and A Taco, all of whom donated the food and time to serve everyone.
The same week, five trucks participated in the Grand Opening of a Dallas SPCA shelter. VP of Marketing, Mariah Davis said that the decision to invite the food trucks to participate in the event was easy because the shelter wanted something fun and unique for their guests. For the food trucks, it exposed them to a new group of customers and for the shelter received the benefit of promoting the event through the Facebook and Twitter pages of the trucks. Overall, it was a win for everyone.
DFW trucks are also involved in charity outside of group events. Yes! Taco, a Fort Worth truck recently held a winter clothing drive to benefit a local church shelter. Every person who brought in an item to donate was given a free taco, as a token of their appreciation.
Ruthie’s Rolling Café has established a monthly program called Ruthie’s Random Snack of Kindness, where once a month Ruthie and her operators pay a visit to a group or local non-profit to pass out goodies. Visits have included a Habitat for Humanity build, a homeless shelter and a Veteran’s Day celebration. Ruthie travels to wherever she can find a group of people whose day needs brightening. The DFW media has joined in with Ruthie and is helping spread the word of the random snacks that Ruthie shares. Interviews with the beneficiaries of Ruthie’s kindness show how much these surprise snacks are appreciated.
Cup-Cakin, a truck that had only been out for one week participated in a Make A Wish Halloween party for wish kids and donated $1 for every cupcake sold. Owner Ashley Green said that even if she lost money working the event it was worth it to her to be invited to participate and have an opportunity to give something to the kids and the foundation.
Participation in the Food Truck SmackDown inspired several of the trucks to continue with charitable donations and include their customers in the generosity. Nammi Truck has established a monthly program where profits from the sell of their t-shirts are donated to a local charity, suggested by their Facebook and Twitter followers. So-Cal Tacos has established a monthly fund where all monies collected in a donation jar are given to a local cause.
Gandolfo’s New York Deli Dallas Owner, Randy Woken, summed up his thoughts on charitable participation with a quote from Swedish philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg, “True Charity is the desire to be useful to others without thought of recompense.” All of these truck owners obviously agree with this philosophy and while they expect nothing in return, the beneficiary of their generosity is the entire DFW Metroplex.